Sunday, September 20, 2009
Selamat Hari Raya and some odd ramblings...
Its Hari Raya Aidilfitri today and I'm up over at my in-law's place in Ara Damansara doing absolutely nothing to really celebrate this auspicious day except give my daughter some 'duit raya' or some festive money to her. I've even dressed down as I'm only in a polo tee and a pair of olive green chinos. The food was good as we had the usual nasi himpit, lemang, rendang (which I don't bother to eat as I'm a sausages and egg kind of man) , some nicey prepared roast tongue and salad (which I truly enjoy).
It's also that time where we look back at what made Raya so fun to celebrate in those days. I'm not talking about the long trips back to kampung for the celebrations. This part of raya I hate. I don't like not moving when I'm sitting in a car. This was what usually happens when a usual 2 and a half hour journey takes 6 hours or so. What I enjoy about raya when I was younger is basically the duit raya. I would get lots of it, and being the capitalist in me meant that with more people giving I'd get to buy more toys later. Heck, I enjoyed being a kid. Of course, now that I'm a parent myself, I have to give the duit raya to others. That's a downer isn't it? Yes, yes, yes, it's a thought which most of you would say 'Dei! You're a grown man la, you should be giving and not receiving!'. Somehow I beg to differ. I basicaly feel 12 most of the time, especially around nice toys (or cars). I'm a kid at heart. Period.
Secondly, there's no more firecrackers rocking the eve of raya night like previously. I was here in Ara and it was silent. No loud claps of thunder. No smell of burning smoke.No lights in the sky. Like the Chinese New Year, authorities have made firecrackers illegal except on government related functions and to be ignited by trained professionals. This was supposedly due to lots of children losing their eyesight and limbs from irresponsible firecracker experimenting. Of course someone should have told them to adhere by the rules written on the packaging. But being supposedly junior rocket scientists, they decided to place these explosives in thin gauge steel pipes, bamboo, cardboard boxes, oranges or even motorcars and then fail to be a good few meters away from the centre of the exposion. Maybe they do deserve what hit them for having a lot less common sense than most. I still think that loss of a few individual's limbs or lives would make a brighter hari raya to me. Remember, in order to make an omelette, some eggs (or numbskulls) would need to be broken. Same goes to any celebratory occasion. I miss loud noises and the occasional scream of people getting burnt from firecrackers. It makes you feel so alive.
Now on to an automotive related memoir:
One day a coupe of years ago I was having a dinner meeting with my partner and some people from the land of Turkey. It sounds slightly more exotic than just stating the country 'Turkey'. My business partner/boss/friend received a call from our Chariman (his dad) who was at another function at a hotel close by. He had car trouble and would like us to get in touch with the Automobile Association of Malaysia (AAM) 24hour towing service. I was tasked to get in touch with AAM.
"Yes, hello I'm Mohamed. My boss needs assistance. His car won't start due to a weak battery and he is at the so and so hotel car park. His membership number is 000000"
"Okay, We'll send someone over. What car is he driving?"
"A Rolls Royce"
There was a slight pause before he said "Okay" and ended the conversation with the usual thanks yous and all.
Now in the land of Malaysia, things like a Rolls Royce owner requesting help from AAM is few and far in between. Even if the problem was a small one like an undercharged battery. I'd bet that the guy who turned up at the hotel car park may have started his first Rolls Royce ever.
There isn't any actual moral to this story. The problem was that my chariman had lots of cars and sometimes having too many cars can be a headache. But if your automotive headache is a classic Rolls Royce. It can be fun.
*Note- Classic Rolls Royces like the Corniche are amazing cars. Opening the door on one and sliding into its vast, sofa like seat is like sliding back into time. Everthing is leather with a smattering of wood. The switches are like bakelite and metal. The car is hand crafted and feels it. It is huge, ornamental and imposing from the outside. Even a W140 s-class Mercedes looks smaller. The thing about a 1970s Rolls (or one much earlier) is that it transports you to a time when manual handwork went through the cars instead of machines and robots. It was crafted with pride by someone and it feels it, it looks it and it is wonderful in a nostalgic way.
Now a Corniche with its engine running isn't as ghostly quiet as one might think. When I first heard it being started at my partner's residence, that large 6750cc V8 engine was smooth and refined, but hardly quiet. It has some V8 woofle which wasn't silenced thoroughly as one would expect. A classic Rolls isn't as serene as you'd expect. A current generation Toyota Altis would waft more silently. That's progress. But progress does not bring with it much character. I'd waft in a slightly noisy Rolls than an Altis anytime.
The car pictured below is a 1977 Corniche similar to the one I called the AAM to assist it along its way. Happy holidays everyone, and if I've offended anyone throughout my writings, I hope that you'd understand that I'm right and you're wrong.